What? Feder does Harry Teinowitz DUI? WMVP ESPN

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Posted by sugar daddy on March 24, 2011 at 00:14:15:

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Just as ratings are looking up, 'Afternoon Saloon' takes a hit
March 24th, 2011 @ 12:00 am by Robert Feder

Just two months shy of his 10th anniversary as afternoon co-host on ESPN Radio's Chicago flagship, Harry Teinowitz suddenly found himself in what he called an "unfortunate situation." For the brash 50-year-old former stand-up comic who grew up in Glencoe, it was a rare understatement - and there was nothing funny about it.

A midnight traffic stop in Skokie earlier this month resulted in a drunken driving charge against Teinowitz. The fallout from that episode may well banish him from the ironically named Afternoon Saloon he has occupied since 2001 with Carmen DeFalco and John Jurkovic on ESPN sports/talk WMVP-AM (1000).

"Some of you may have heard about the incident that occurred last Friday night," Teinowitz told listeners the following Tuesday - when it still appeared he might get off with only a brief suspension. "I made a horrible mistake in judgment. And I take full responsibility for my actions. I let my family down. I let you guys, the listeners who I love, down. I let the company I work for down. And I'm deeply sorry."

But that was before additional details emerged from the police report, including an officer's reference to smelling marijuana in Teinowitz's SUV and observing marijuana residue on his shirt. The report also quoted Teinowitz invoking his employer, Walt Disney Co. (which owns ESPN), and making repeated requests to "call the mayor" (presumably Skokie's George Van Dusen). For a zero-tolerance outfit like ESPN, it seemed to cross a few too many lines.

By the following week, a spokesman for Teinowitz announced that he was voluntarily entering a rehabilitation program, while no one (except for the spokesman) was speculating publicly anymore when, if ever, he'd be back on the air.

With Teinowitz out indefinitely and Jurkovic away on vacation, ESPN 1000 bosses pulled a switcheroo in their lineup this week by temporarily moving midday hosts Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman into the Afternoon Saloon time slot.

It all comes just as the station seemed to be closing the gap with its main competitor, CBS Radio sports/talk WSCR-AM (670), in the latest Arbitron Portable People Meter survey. Among men between the ages of 25 and 54 (the target demographic of both stations), less than four-tenths of a share point separated the ESPN 1000 afternoon trio from the Score's Terry Boers and Dan Bernstein. In mornings, ESPN 1000 was already beating the Score.

John Cravens, president and general manager of ESPN 1000, declined to comment Wednesday on Teinowitz or his future with the station. But he insisted that "nothing should be read into" the deployment of Waddle & Silvy in afternoons, saying that even the suggestion that it might be a sign of things to come would depart from "any sense of reality."

Cravens downplayed the ratings race with the Score, calling it a "cyclical situation" tied more to the individuals chosen to participate in Arbitron surveys than to any real shifts in listenership from one ratings period to the next. "Our duplication is minimal - less than 30 percent between both stations," he said. "The thing that affects it is not so much a personality - because both of these stations have had pretty strong consistency in that regard - it's where these [Arbitron] panelists fall. I don't think there's anything bad about the timing of it.

"We really don't sell on the ratings here. We position the station as a male-dominated format that drives results for advertisers. I don't believe [the ratings] when they're up, and I don't believe them when they're down. We have been and continue to be in a solid position, and there's no reason to believe any of that will change."

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